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Don PatersonContemporary Critical Essays$
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Natalie Pollard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748669417

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748669417.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Punching Yourself in the Face

Punching Yourself in the Face

Don Paterson and his Readers

(p.131) 9 Punching Yourself in the Face
Don Paterson

Peter Robinson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the lexicons of violence in Paterson's work, and what these have to do with the politics of reader-relations in contemporary poems. It considers how Paterson's work deals with the singularity of each mind that enters into relations with his printed language. Placing his aphorism in a tradition that takes in Marcus Aurelius, G. C. Lichtenberg, Chesterton, Oscar Wilde, Adam Phillips and many others, the chapter also considers the punchiness of Paterson's prose. It reads Paterson as competitive with literary historical figures, especially in the way his work seeks audience. It argues that Paterson is often as guilty of certain kinds of estrangement and alienations of the reader as he charges them with being, and presents the poetry of Denise Riley and Lee Harwood as examples of reader-relations that overlap with those Paterson claims for the mainstream.

Keywords:   Don Paterson, British poetry, British poets, aphorism, Marcus Aurelius, Lee Harwood, Denise Riley, G. C. Lichtenberg, Oscar Wilde, Adam Phillips

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